Many words can describe an Irish wedding, but one word in particular that transcends through the most elegant of castle weddings to a casual courthouse ceremony followed by celebratory pint at the pub, is “fun.” Having endured its fair share of historical hardships, the Irish know probably better than most that when it is a time to celebrate, it a chance to get together with our most loved and honor everything that is best about Life. At the heart of this mantra, is having FUN. And when Susan and Pat came to us to plan their dream destination wedding in Ireland, we knew it would be one to remember.
Pat and Susan met back in 2008 through Match.com on a first date that included Pat’s best friend! They got engaged in December of 2012, when Pat asked Susan to meet him at their favorite local restaurant. After relaxing with a couple of drinks at the table in the sand on the water, Pat excused himself (seemingly to use the restroom), and after a quick call to Susan’s mother to give her the heads up for the proposal, Pat returned and got down on one knee and asked Susan to marry him. Totally shocked, Susan could only muster “Really?!” a half a dozen times before Pat prompted her with “Are you going to say ‘yes’?” Which of course, she did.
After a long discussion about what kind of wedding they wanted, they decided on Ireland. They wanted something special, truly unique. Pat mentioned he went to Ireland with his family back in 2000 and the Cliffs of Moher was the most beautiful place he had ever seen, and it would be perfect for their wedding. Pat’s Irish heritage and being fans of good beer and a good whiskey made the decision easy. Ireland it is! And they set to task.
Susan and Pat were adamant about creating a fun, memorable destination wedding for their loved ones. They wanted everything to be authentic and truly Irish, casual and comfortable so everyone could relax and enjoy themselves. Their laidback attitude gave way for a truly fun celebration, despite the early potential complication of Irish weather coming to ruin the day. In the end, a couple of prayers and some patience made way for a spectacularly sunny afternoon and some breathtaking pictures. Followed by a casual reception at a local pub in Doolin, a village famous for its traditional Irish music, Pat and Susan together with their guests ate and drank and danced, toasting and singing and simply enjoying their most special day. It’s pretty clear from Susan’s megawatt smile the day was just pure fun, and everyone truly enjoyed themselves.
Taking heavy inspiration from the natural surroundings and the Cliffs themselves, Susan wanted an elegant palate of whites and light greens for the flowers. Adding some Irish charm and a sense of humor are her peek-a-boo, custom made shamrock heel (that admittedly we’re a little obsessed with here at Waterlily Weddings!). A little vintage pin added a sense of “something old” to her beautiful lace Claire Pettibone dress. Not to be outdone, Pat wore a handsome custom-made by Joseph Abboud and accessorized with subtle shamrock tie and peek-a-boo shamrock dress socks.
These details hit the nail on the head picking up a rich part of Ireland’s culture and traditions while at the same time retaining a lovely sense of humor and immediately setting the tone for the day, that this was to be light-hearted and enjoyable.
Most of all, thought, we love Pat and Susan’s contagious smiles. They really embraced the light-hearted part of what makes Ireland so great, the importance of getting together with loved ones to celebrate and be happy and just have good ol’ fashioned fun. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, we really enjoy sharing their special day with you, and all of the fun details that you can clearly see was enjoyed by everyone, young to old, on their wedding day, and we know you’ll find yourself smiling at the end of the post too. So without further ado…
Waterlily Weddings is proud to present the authentically fun, classically Irish with a sense of humor wedding of Susan and Pat. We know you’ll love it as much as we do! And those shoes!!!! This is their story….
After a late celebration in Doolin the night before, Susan woke up at the SeaView B&B in Doolin bright-eyed and eager to begin the day’s preparations. As the skies above mingled between threatening dove-grays and sparks of bright, glorious blue, Susan slid into her colorful dressing robe and sat in her makeup chair, sipping on champagne while Maria expertly applied the finishing touches. It didn’t take much to highlight Susan’s naturally bright eyes. A gaggle of her closest female friends and family gathered around her, festively sipping on champagne and mimosas and helping themselves to a traditional Irish breakfast of smoked salmon and freshly baked brown bread and berries. They contemplated if the whether would hold (or not). It was soon decided that burying a Statue of Prague and praying to Pat’s grandmother would help the situation, surely. All that was needed was a little faith, and perhaps a little more whiskey to help boost morale.
Speaking of whiskey….
Pat and his cohorts gathered at Fizpatrick’s Bar, a quaint local watering hole and makers of men in the village. They enjoyed some festive libations and mingled with the locals, eagerly waiting for the weather to hopefully pass before Plan B was put into effect.
Susan and her ladies made their way to the cliffs where the rest of the guests had already gathered near Haggs Head Tower. Thankfully the skies parted, giving way to a spectacular sunny afternoon with billowing white clouds and a bright blue sky that just illuminated the waters below. Fresh from the rain, the ground was a most perfect bright green, wildflowers of purples and yellows bright as sun that warmed everyone on this chilly, blustery afternoon.
Ulliean pipes played by traditional Irish musician Ronan Browne serenaded the guests as Susan, guided by her mother, made her way up to the Tower. The couple gathered near the cliffs’ edge, as celebrant Gary Balson began the moving traditional Irish wedding ceremony. Beginning with traditional Irish blessings followed by an emotional exchange of vows between the clearly beaming couple, their loved ones looked on proudly, the day clearly blessed by Pat’s grandmother. To honor her father (who passed ten years ago), Susan took his gold wedding band and sized it down to fit herself. She then took the leftover gold and combined it with the gold melted down from Pat’s mother’s high school graduation ring to create Pat’s custom wedding band. They exchanged vows with these perfect, newly made heirlooms. A hand-fasting completed the traditional Irish ceremony, and soon they were pronounced husband and wife!
The couple retreated for some spectacular pictures with photographer, Shane, exploring the landscape and natural beauty in and around Haggs Head and the Cliffs. To help navigate the terrain (and not destroy those gorgeous shoes), Susan wisely opted for a good old fashioned pair of green Wellies for her ceremony and pictures.
The newlyweds joined their guests some time later where the party was well underway at local Gus O’Connor’s Pub in Doolin. Encouraged to embrace the Irish sense of fun and party and to help get into the spirit of things, Susan and Pat came with a suitcase packed with fun Irish/St Patrick’s Day themed accessories for their guests to help themselves to. Add some perfectly poured pints, traditional Irish comfort food, and of course, some killer traditional Irish music and everyone was soon singing and dancing and having the best time. The guests were invited to order from the menu, and for dessert, a custom made pineapple coconut cake (Pat’s favorite) in Kelly greens, in the shape of a leprechaun hat delighted the guests.
Congratulations Susan and Pat! We love your wedding inspiration and think it’s a great reminder for all couples planning their weddings to remember the most important part of their day is to enjoy it.
Ceremony: Haggs Head, Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare • Reception: Gus O’Connor’s Pub, Doolin, Co. Clare • Celebrant: Gary Baiston, Spiritual Ceremonies (Kildare) • Photographer: Shane O’Neill, Aspect Photography • Music: Ronan Browne, ulliean pipes • Flowers: Margaret Madden, Maddens Florists (Galway) • Cake: Goyas Fine Food (Galway) • Hair: Hair Boutique (Lahinch) • Makeup: Serene Beauty Treats (Lahinch)
Special Details: Susan took the leftover lace from her wedding dress after it got hemmed and had necklaces made with it; each necklace had a piece of her wedding dress in a charming frame that the ladies wore that day • Pat and Susan created fun welcome bags for their guests including personalized golf umbrellas, bottles of Jameson (their favorite whiskey), snacks, and t-shirts that said “Cunnane’s Irish Drinking Team”
A Bride’s Advice: “Hire Waterlily Weddings! Michelle was amazing and we really connected. She was there for every little thing and we didn’t worry about anything. Relax and enjoy each and every moment. Hire a great photographer so that when you look back at your pictures it brings you back to the beauty of the day.”